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Is this a breach?

HIPAA   (435 Views | 5 Replies)

Big Blondie has 32 years experience as a ADN, BSN, MSN.

8,228 Profile Views; 439 Posts

I work in a pedi clinic. An MA sent a group text that her son had a seizure and she needed someone to work for her. The following day I asked her if her son is ok as I heard he had a seizure from one of the MAs on the group text. She said yes. I asked if she brought him to ER and she said he was treated in our office by another Provider. (I am an NP and treated her child in the past). She said this was his third seizure.  She elaborated saying her mom and aunt are epileptic. I asked if she was going to neurologist. She said no the NP said they would treat each seizure as one and would refer if he had another seizure, and that she was referred in the past but didn’t go. I said why not, she said I don’t know. I said why wouldn’t you go?  It’s free. I told her my grandson had three seizures and was put on meds but after 2 yrs driving it was dc. The next day I got to work and she reported me for a HIPPA violation. I was questioned, told my story. I don’t feel this is a breach. She sent group text, I didn’t even know he was seen in the office until she told me. What do you think?

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1 Follower; 3,288 Posts; 45,394 Profile Views

I can't fathom how it could be.  He was not your patient, you didn't access his medical records.  All you did was ask his mother how he was since other MA'S told you he had a seizure.

 

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12 Followers; 3,834 Posts; 28,941 Profile Views

Nope. Not HIPAA.

However...you should know better than to get into any conversation like this, ever, with anyone who isn't your absolutely trustworthy BFF. Because "this exact situation."

 

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LouDogg has 4 years experience as a BSN, RN and specializes in SRNA, ICU and Emergency Mursing.

1 Follower; 593 Posts; 8,650 Profile Views

How I see it:
No violation on your part. Possibly a violation on the part of the MA who told you about it (I assume you are not in the group text), as there was no reason for that MA to share private information about another patient if they/you are not part of the case and it's not pertinent to their/your job in medical care. You're safe, they may not be. 

They may tell you that YOU should have told the MA not to share the information; and possibly that you should have reported that MA. But I don't see how your actions were a HIPAA violation. 

Let us know how it goes. We have ideas of how this works, but it's very helpful to learn from cases where the answers are not so obvious. 

Thanks for sharing. 

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Rose_Queen is a BSN, MSN, RN and specializes in OR, education.

6 Followers; 4 Articles; 9,034 Posts; 105,594 Profile Views

12 hours ago, LouDogg said:

Possibly a violation on the part of the MA who told you about it (I assume you are not in the group text), as there was no reason for that MA to share private information about another patient if they/you are not part of the case and it's not pertinent to their/your job in medical care. You're safe, they may not be.

Nope. Not a violation. The MA who shared the information got it directly from the mother, not from the chart. The mother could have simply said she had a family emergency and not elaborated when asking for coverage. However, sharing the information is gossipy, which isn't the most professional.

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Big Blondie has 32 years experience as a ADN, BSN, MSN.

439 Posts; 8,228 Profile Views

My employer determined that I did not violate any workplace rules. The MA that turned me in realized she offered information in a group text that is not confidential, and also during our conversation. This really opened my eyes!  

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